The Old Testament reading for Wednesday, January 29 is:

Isaiah 9:8–10:4

Judgment on Arrogance and Oppression

  The Lord has sent a word against Jacob,
    and it will fall on Israel;
  and all the people will know,
    Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria,
    who say in pride and in arrogance of heart:
10   “The bricks have fallen,
    but we will build with dressed stones;
  the sycamores have been cut down,
    but we will put cedars in their place.”
11   But the LORD raises the adversaries of Rezin against him,
    and stirs up his enemies.
12   The Syrians on the east and the Philistines on the west
    devour Israel with open mouth.
  For all this his anger has not turned away,
    and his hand is stretched out still.
13   The people did not turn to him who struck them,
    nor inquire of the LORD of hosts.
14   So the LORD cut off from Israel head and tail,
    palm branch and reed in one day—
15   the elder and honored man is the head,
    and the prophet who teaches lies is the tail;
16   for those who guide this people have been leading them astray,
    and those who are guided by them are swallowed up.
17   Therefore the Lord does not rejoice over their young men,
    and has no compassion on their fatherless and widows;
  for everyone is godless and an evildoer,
    and every mouth speaks folly.1
  For all this his anger has not turned away,
    and his hand is stretched out still.
18   For wickedness burns like a fire;
    it consumes briers and thorns;
  it kindles the thickets of the forest,
    and they roll upward in a column of smoke.
19   Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts
    the land is scorched,
  and the people are like fuel for the fire;
    no one spares another.
20   They slice meat on the right, but are still hungry,
    and they devour on the left, but are not satisfied;
  each devours the flesh of his own arm,
21   Manasseh devours Ephraim, and Ephraim devours Manasseh;
    together they are against Judah.
  For all this his anger has not turned away,
    and his hand is stretched out still.
10:1   Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees,
    and the writers who keep writing oppression,
  to turn aside the needy from justice
    and to rob the poor of my people of their right,
  that widows may be their spoil,
    and that they may make the fatherless their prey!
  What will you do on the day of punishment,
    in the ruin that will come from afar?
  To whom will you flee for help,
    and where will you leave your wealth?
  Nothing remains but to crouch among the prisoners
    or fall among the slain.
  For all this his anger has not turned away,
    and his hand is stretched out still.


[1] 9:17 Or speaks disgraceful things


English Standard Version: Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service.

Old Testament Pastoral Commentary for Isaiah 9:8-10:4
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie
"For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still." This repeated refrain in the words of Isaiah reminds Israel why God's wrath is upon them, and why He will not relent until they have been carried into exile. Their pride made them think that even if they felt God's chastening hand they could recover and be even better off, rebuilding with dressed stones and replanting with cedar. But Isaiah warned that the LORD would cut off head and tail at the same time, removing both the elder and the false prophet who misled God's people. The wickedness was sorampant throughout the land, that Isaiah had to conclude that, "everyone is godless and an evildoer, and every mouth speaks folly." Isaiah warned that judgment would come not only from the hand of God, and from enemy nations, but even from within, with people turning on each other to devour one another. Such infighting would become so pronounced that even the two half tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, from the single line of Joseph would turn on each other. Isaiah pointed out what the leaders were doing who led God's people astray. They wrote unjust laws (10:1), deprived the poor of their rights, and abused widows and orphans (10:2). Therefore Isaiah predicted that ruin would come upon them, so that the best anyone could do would be to crouch among the prisoners or play dead among the slain, hoping to avoid detection. When a people whom God has providentially raised up for His purposes forsake the Lord, the expectation of wrath and judgment should be great!